Malaysia's aviation soars with 9.1% surge in number of operating airlines - MAHB


KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's aviation remains firmly on a trajectory of recovery, with a total of 72 airlines operating actively within Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd’s (MAHB) network of local airports at the end of 2023, representing 9.1 per cent surge from the preceding year.

This surge has also resulted in a robust connection to a total of 147 destinations, comprising 113 international and 34 domestic, MAHB said.

"The expansion, marked by a 21.4 per cent increase from 121 destinations comprising 86 international and 35 domestic in 2022, can be attributed to the launch of six new airlines, the resumption of seven others and the introduction of new routes by existing airlines.

"The encouraging traffic demand continued to be evident as the group recorded four million international passengers in Malaysia in December 2023, the highest since February 2020.

"This was driven by the reopening of China borders, increase in airlines seat capacity and new aircraft deliveries,” it said in a statement today.

In 2023, the group noted that it had also achieved a momentous milestone by surpassing 100 million total passenger movements for the first time since 2020, reaching an impressive 120 million passengers.

This achievement not only highlights a substantial recovery rate of 84.6 per cent against 2019 levels but also underscores the group's resilience and adaptability in the face of global challenges, it said.

MAHB pointed out that local airports played a pivotal role in achieving yet another milestone, whereby despite rising airfares, inflation and severe weather changes, local airports contributed significantly, registering a record-breaking 81.9 million total passenger movements, a 77.8 per cent recovery of 2019 levels.

"In December 2023, airports in Malaysia experienced a further uptick in passenger traffic with a total of 7.7 million recorded, including four million international and 3.7 million domestic, in line with the long year-end holidays.

"The international sector saw an 18 per cent increase from 3.4 million passengers in November 2023. Concurrently, the domestic sector saw a 16 per cent increase from 3.2 million passengers,” the group shared.

Meanwhile, MAHB said the Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen International Airport (SAW) handled 3.1 million total passenger movements in December 2023.

These movements, it said, comprised 1.7 million international and 1.4 million domestic passengers, with SAW's performance contributing 29 per cent to the total traffic of 10.9 million passengers recorded by the group in the month.

The group further stated that the year 2023 also marked a significant milestone for SAW as not only did the airport surpass 2019 levels, but total passenger movements reached a record high of 37.6 million, which is a notable increase of 4.5 per cent from 2019.

This growth can be attributed to the airlines' rapid expansion and new operations in the international sector, it said, adding that international traffic share reached more than 50 per cent of the airport’s total passengers for the first time.

"Pegasus commenced services to four new routes, namely Alexandria, Egypt, Kutaisi, Georgia, Dortmund, Germany, and Birmingham, United Kingdom.

"Ajet, previously known as Anodolujet, launched a new service to Belgrade, Serbia, whereas British Airways increased services to daily flights to Heathrow. In addition, Flynas launched a new service to Madinah, Saudi Arabia,” it said. - Bernama

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